Supporting Black Men’s Mental Health
By Natasha Crosby | Jun 28, 2021
Men have been considered strong and emotionless since the beginning of time. When a man is born, society builds in him certain beliefs and notions that he begins to unconsciously live by. So, we hear things like men don’t cry, men aren’t ‘weaklings’, men shouldn’t show vulnerability, all of these things have affected men in our society today negatively emotionally and psychologically, taking a bad toll on their mental health.
Taking the spotlight off men in general and focusing on Black men, the pressure and societal expectation gets even worse, the tides are higher. Black men have been exposed to high levels of pressure, the society expects them to fail, they actually set them up to fail so, they have to do triple the work of their white counterparts to succeed. Apart from all of these societal pressure, Black men rarely have access to adequate mental health care because of our flawed health system that deprioritizes Black people.
Black men need to maintain sanity and good mental health like everyone on earth they deserve a break, they deserve to be cut some slack. Researches have shown that Black men are more likely to suffer from severe mental health problems due to stigma, systemic discrimination, and cultural barriers.
How Black Women Can Support Our Black Men
Black women are powerful and play a major role in the motivation and encouragement of Black men in general. Equally, black men value the women around them and hold them in high esteem, their women are queens. As a Black woman, you have the power to encourage the men around you, to build their confidence, and help ease their mental health journey. It’s the little things that go a long way in driving change. Surround the men in your life with nothing but positive vibes and energy, as you strive to maintain your mental health, look out for the mental health of the men around you too.
Encourage the men in your life with words of affirmation, create a safe space around you, where they can feel vulnerable without shame. They are faced with judgmental stares out there every day, we can try to be more understanding and listen to be less judgmental. Advise them to see a mental health therapist, when they feel overwhelmed or when they just need to offload. It’s not a sign of weakness in any way, it’s the direct opposite.
It’s common for Black men to try and tackle depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue they may be facing on their own. It’s their default setting to feign strength or laugh it off. Black men easily neglect themselves in the pursuit for stability, so we have a majority of Black men moving around not acknowledging the way they feel until it escalates or just blows up!
As Black women, we can help our men reprioritize and look inward. Let’s teach them how to care for themselves and put their mental health first. I wouldn’t be surprised if you asked some Black men ‘what’s your self-care routine?’ and they stare blankly or simply state they do not have one. One major step in the right direction is encouraging the men in your life to develop self-care routines. A routine that helps them to offload as there has to be a work life balance.
Black men go through a lot of daily stressors and our strength lies in each other. We must help each other up and look out for each other in order to support and maintain our mental health. Black women have a lot of influence on the Black men in their lives. With your help, more Black men can have better and stable mental health journeys.